Growing up in Seattle I was aware of two things – we had some of the best water in the country and that it has fluoride which is good for my teeth. I didn’t question these facts until I was older, and had the ability to do the research for myself.
The research on fluoride’s actual effects on the body are limited, but wild speculation abounds. Movements to ban fluoridating public water are based on claims of a variety of different ailments. The most common include assertions that it is damaging to bones or that it is responsible for calcifying the pineal gland. One of the problems with both of these claims is that there is little evidence to back either. After reviewing all the evidence I could find, I came to conclude that fluoride is safe and that it does have some kind of impact on my dental health.
According to the CDC, 67.1 percent of U.S citizens are drinking fluoridated water. The extensive studies that prove that fluoride has a positive effect on dental health argue that this practice is cost saving and beneficial to the general public. Even if we know that it’s good for teeth, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a beneficial compound for the rest of the body.
The documents provided by the CDC all have very similar conclusions, but other documentation exists that shows that there may be significantly detrimental effects to the the overconsumption of the fluoridation compound. The way fluoridation measures work is to determine the appropriate amount of fluoride to have in water, but the actual ingested amount can vary greatly depending on the amount of tap water a person drinks and many other factors. This means that many are receiving much more or much less than the CDC’s goal amount of fluoride.
The CDC’s research also does not include any of the research related to skeletal fluorosis, cancer or neurotoxicity in infants. According to an extensive review of current research, “available evidence suggests that fluoride has a potential to cause major adverse human health problems, while having only a modest dental caries prevention effect.”
One aspect that is often connected with the supporters of banning fluoride is the effect on the pineal gland. This gland is part of the endocrine system and produces melantonin in the body, which affects how we process time and how our body falls into its natural circadian rhythms. The full role of this gland is not known.
The National Academic Press released a book in 2006 titled “Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards.” This book stated that “Whether fluoride exposure causes decreased nocturnal melatonin production or altered circadian rhythm of melatonin production in humans has not been investigated. As described above, fluoride is likely to cause decreased melatonin production and to have other effects on normal pineal function, which in turn could contribute to a variety of effects in humans.”
Groups focused on banning fluoride say that it causes calcium deposits in the pineal gland. The study also states that “The pineal gland is a calcifying tissue; in humans, calcified concretions can be found at any age, although the likelihood increases with age and may be associated with menopause.” Studies on aged cadavers have shown that higher levels of fluoride consistently have a higher level of calcium deposits. Despite the evidence in this review, there is still absolutely no research on fluoride consumption and the effects on this aspect of the human body for children or adults before old age.
Even with these few findings on the relationship between the pineal gland and fluoride, there doesn’t seem to be much hard evidence that fluoride in water has any negative impact whatsoever at the low levels in which it is artificially added to public sources.
This topic merits further study. So much of the world in which humans inhabit today is artificially created and altered without extensive research into its effects. Many products that are banned today were lauded for their useful effects when they were first discovered or applied. Lead, for example, was used to sweeten water, seal cans of food and was applied directly to skin as makeup before it was discovered to be poisonous.
Artificial products are cheaper and easier to produce than their natural alternatives but not much thought is put to their potentially debilitating effects.